Introduction: A new development this week! Daniel is the recipient of
a vision, not merely the interpreter of the king’s dreams. This
personal vision parallels the “history of the world” dream given to
Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 2. That dream dealt with the
political power of a series of empires. That made sense since
Nebuchadnezzar was a man concerned about political power. The
parallel vision we study this week in Daniel 7 has to do with the
personal or spiritual nature of these empires. Let’s dive into our
study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Dreaming

    1. Read Daniel 7:1. Does Daniel have a sleeping problem?

      1. Do dreams keep you awake? (Normally, if I have dreams
        when I’m sleeping, I have a hard time remembering
        them when I wake up. They generally do not interfere
        with my sleep.)

      2. What is significant about the date of this vision?
        (Two weeks ago we studied the end of Belshazzar’s
        reign. It appeared that Daniel had been forgotten by
        the royal court, except for Nebucadnezzar’s widow,
        the Queen.)

      3. What was Belshazzar’s attitude towards Daniel’s God?
        (He was hostile. This is likely another reason why
        this dream is given to Daniel and not Belshazzar.)

    2. Read Daniel 7:2. The winds of heaven churn up the “great
      sea.” What does the “great sea” represent? (Commentators
      differ, but I think it is likely the Mediterranean Sea. It
      is the sea that Daniel would know about. When we study the
      animals more, we will see that they all border the

  2. Animals

    1. Read Daniel 7:3. What Daniel sees are beasts. The parallel
      vision of Daniel 2 involves different metals. Why
      represent these political powers as animals? (This is
      where we see the personality of the empires. This reflects
      the spiritual/moral aspects of these kingdoms.)

    2. When my wife reads a book, she always looks at the back
      first so that she will know how it ends. I would never do
      that. But, we are going to do that here. Daniel 7 provides
      the dream and later the interpretation. We will sneak
      looks at the interpretation to help us understand.

    3. Let’s skip ahead here. Read Daniel 7:9. Recall in Daniel
      2:34, a rock destroys the image. What did we decide this
      rock represented? (The Second Coming of Jesus.)

      1. What does Daniel 7:9 suggest about the correctness of
        our view about the rock? (It shows that we are

      2. Why are these kingdoms represented by animals and the
        Second Coming represented by a man? (It reflects the
        difference between pagan secular powers and God. It
        also reflects the vast gulf between our abilities and
        nature and those of God.)

    4. Let’s look again at Daniel 7:3. The end of this verse says
      that these beasts “came up out of the sea.” Are you still
      comfortable with saying that the sea is the Mediterranean?
      Why would it be fair to say they came “out” of the sea
      when they merely border it? (Read Revelation 17:15, Isaiah
      57:20, and Psalms 65:7. These verses use “sea” to
      symbolize people. The Pulpit commentary argues that seas
      refer to “the great mass of Gentile nations.” I don’t
      think all Gentile nations is correct, because of the
      reference to the “great sea” – which points to the
      Mediterranean. However, understanding “sea” to mean the
      people of the area makes sense.)

    5. Let’s sneak a look at the interpretation by reading Daniel
      7:17. What does this say about the origin of the four
      beasts? (It says that they arose from the earth. This
      makes plain that the “sea” reference refers to people in
      nations that border the sea.)

    6. Looking ahead at Daniel 7:17 tells us that the animals are
      “four kings.” That is not very specific. Read Daniel 7:4
      and Jeremiah 4:7. What kingdom does this lion represent?
      (Babylonian art used winged lions to represent the empire.
      Jeremiah refers to Nebuchadnezzar as “the lion.” Daniel 4
      records that Nebuchadnezzar became like an animal with an
      animal brain. But, when he acknowledged the true God he
      became like a man again with the ability to think like a

    7. Read Daniel 7:5. What kingdom does this bear represent?
      (Medo-Persia follows Babylon in the Daniel 2 dream. The
      uneven back reflects the dominance of the Persians over
      the Medes. The similarity to a bear tells us about the
      power of this empire.)

    8. Read Daniel 7:6. What kingdom does this leopard represent?
      (Greece. Four is the numerical sign of the Greek power,
      according to one commentary, and the speed of Alexander
      the Great’s conquest is well-known. This speed is
      represented in the four wings.)

    9. Read Daniel 7:7. How is this beast different? (It does not
      look like an animal that Daniel recognizes.)

    10. Read Daniel 7:19 and Daniel 7:23. What is this fourth
      beast? (Using Daniel 2 as a point of reference, this seems
      to be the Roman Empire, since it is the fourth kingdom.)

  3. Heads and Horns

    1. Daniel 7:7 tells us that this fourth monster has ten
      horns. Let’s read Daniel 7:8 and sneak a look at Daniel
      7:24. What are these ten horns? (The horns are kings which
      come from the Roman empire.)

    2. Out of these ten kings, according to Daniel 7:7, comes a
      “little” horn which uproots three of the kings. This
      little horn is not an animal, it is described as a person,
      as a king. Let’s sneak a look at Daniel 7:20-21 and Daniel
      7:24-26 to find what the little horn represents. What is
      it? (It is a persecuting power. It wages war against “the
      holy people” and defeats them. It will “oppress” God’s
      people. It tries to change set times and laws. It has
      success for “a time, times and half a time.”)

      1. Recall that we are talking about past history. What
        “king” arises from the Roman Empire and oppresses
        God’s people?

      2. What do you think is the “little horn?”

      3. A popular teaching is that the “little horn” is a
        minor Seleucide King named Antiochus Ephiphanes who
        ruled eleven years from 175-164 B.C.. Antiochus came
        to power after the death of Alexander the Great at
        the end of the Greek empire. (See, Goldstein,
        Graffiti in the Holy of Holies, p. 39-42). Does
        Antiochus Ephiphanes fit the description of the
        little horn? (No. The timing is all wrong. Antiochus
        came to power before, not after, the Roman Empire.
        The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge recites that the
        ten kingdoms into which the western Roman Empire was
        divided were set up between 356 A.D. and 526 A.D.
        Thus, Antiochus is more than 500 years too soon to
        fit this prophecy. In addition, his eleven year rule
        hardly seems to stretch to the time of the final
        judgment. See Daniel 7:21-22.)

    3. Look again at Daniel 7:25. It says that the little horn
      tries to change “set times and the laws.” What do you
      think this means? (Compare Daniel 2:19-21. Changing times
      and seasons is the prerogative of God. Thus, this little
      horn with its persecution of the saints, and its claim to
      God’s prerogatives seems to be a quasi-religious power.)

      1. When you think of a time that God has set as a law,
        what comes to mind? (What comes to my mind is Exodus
        20:8-11, the command for Sabbath worship.)

    4. Now that we have discussed this more, what do you think
      the “little horn” represents? (There is disagreement among
      commentators on this, but I believe the evidence points
      very clearly to Papal Rome. It arose after Pagan Rome (the
      Roman Empire) was breaking up. It was different than the
      other kings in that its claim to religious power was
      greater than its claim to secular authority. It is
      identified with a man. Papal Rome is identified with the
      Pope. Papal Rome had a sad period during the Middle Ages
      when it persecuted those who disagreed with it. I want my
      readers to know that I have a long history of defending in
      court the religious freedom of Catholics and Catholic
      institutions. I love and admire how the Catholic Church
      stands strong against abortion and other evil. But, I
      think this prophecy is clear.)

  4. Judgment

    1. Look again at Daniel 7:25, but this time the last part.
      What happens with this persecution? (It ends after a
      “time, times and half a time.” Some commentators
      reasonably say that this is 3.5 years, or 1,260 days.
      Using the “year-day” principle of prophecy this represents
      1,260 years. See also Revelation 11:3 and Revelation

    2. Read Daniel 7:26-27. What happens at the end? (God brings
      in His “everlasting kingdom!” We are that kingdom!)

    3. Friend, what is the good news here? (God wins! His saints
      win! Will you have confidence that God is in control, no
      matter what happens?)

  5. Next week: From Contamination to Purification.